Type of Document Dissertation Author Sikorski, Eric Glen Author's Email Address firstname.lastname@example.org URN etd-04132009-100253 Title Team Knowledge Sharing Intervention Effects On Team Shared Mental Models And Team Performance In An Undergraduate Meteorology Course Degree Doctor of Philosophy Department Educational Psychology and Learning Systems, Department of Advisory Committee
Advisor Name Title Tristan E. Johnson Committee Chair David Eccles Committee Member Valerie Shute Committee Member Paul Ruscher Outside Committee Member Keywords
- Shared Mental Models
- Team Performance
- Science Education
Date of Defense 2009-03-26 Availability unrestricted AbstractShared mental models (SMM) are defined as “knowledge structure(s) held by each member of a team that enables them to form accurate explanations and expectations for the [team and task], and in turn, to coordinate their actions and adapt their behavior to demands of the task and other team members”(Cannon-Bowers, Salas, & Converse, 1993, p. 228). Team member knowledge and perceptions about the team and tasks within a given environment is a main contributing factor for team effectiveness while SMM represents the commonality of this knowledge among team members (Cannon-Bowers & Salas, 1998).
There is evidence to support the link between SMM and team performance. Further, research has found that certain SMM based interventions can improve team processes ultimately leading to greater team performance. Though much of this evidence comes from high-stress / high-intensity (e.g. military) environments as well as in business, Mohammed and Dumville (2001) state that the team SMM framework can be applied across disciplines such as education where team learning strategies are used. The theoretical framework of SMM for analyzing and improving team performance has great potential for research and practical application in the academic environment. Despite this potential, there is limited empirical evidence to support the use of interventions designed based on the SMM framework in the academic setting where team learning strategies are being utilized.
The purpose of this study was to examine the effects of an SMM based intervention on team mental model similarity and ultimately team performance in an undergraduate meteorology course. The team knowledge sharing (TKS) intervention was designed to improve team and task-related knowledge sharing processes through promoting team reflection, communication, and improvement planning thereby enhancing SMM and ultimately team performance on meteorology lab assignments. The intervention targeted five critical SMM factors that are: general task and team knowledge, communication skills, attitude toward teammates and task, team dynamics and interactions, and team resources and working environment (Johnson et al., 2007).
This research involved conducting an experiment whereby 34 student teams in an undergraduate meteorology lab were randomly assigned to either a treatment or control condition. Prior to working on team lab assignments, teams in the treatment condition received the TKS intervention while those in the control condition received the non-SMM activity. Team-SMM outcomes comprised two key elements: (1) content of team members’ perceptions regarding team and general task work as indicated by the Team Assessment Diagnostic Measure (TADM) mean and standard deviation (SD) scores and (2) the composition of team knowledge structures pertaining to team and general task work as indicated by the Team-SMM Structure score. Team-SMM content and structure are assessed within the context of teams working on three successive meteorology lab assignments. Team performance outcomes comprised team scores on meteorology team lab assignments 7, 8, and 9 as well as on a team quiz. MANOVA, ANOVA, and non-parametric statistical techniques were used to determine treatment and control group differences on the specified outcome variables.
The first theme of the study was concerned with examining the effects of the TKS intervention on Team-SMM. Significant differences were found between the treatment and control group on the following SMM related dependent variables: lab assignment 7 TADM SD score, lab assignment 8 TADM SD score and Team-SMM Structure score, and lab assignment 9 Team-SMM Structure score. The direction of these differences was consistent with the hypotheses. The second theme was concerned with examining the effects of the TKS intervention on team performance.
Results revealed that lab assignment mean score was higher for the treatment group as compared to the control group though this difference was not significant. Lab assignment 8 mean score was significantly higher for the TKS treatment group as compared to the control group which supports the operational hypotheses. Lab assignment 9 mean score was significantly higher for the control group as compared to the treatment group which is in opposition to the operational hypothesis. The team quiz score mean was higher for the treatment group as compared to the control group which is consistent with the operational hypothesis.
Overall, the TKS intervention was effective as indicated by generally greater SMM and team performance for the treatment group as compared to the control. The TKS intervention could realistically be adopted for use in the MET 1010 course and similar academic settings to maximize the potential of student teams. Similar interventions could likely be developed, empirically examined, and potentially employed to promote success in handling complex challenges while working in teams in the classroom and beyond.
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